Lights! Cameras! Sit! Stay! The Life Of Dog Groomer And Videographer Jess Rona

By Agatha French
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Jess Rona shot to insta-fame with her Instagram account @jessronagrooming, an ingenious feed that transforms her stylishly groomed dogs into movie stars, literally.

LOS ANGELES

Not just anyone is on a first-name basis with Katy Perry, but even fewer are on a first-name basis with her dog.

“Nugget!” L.A. groomer, comedian and director Jess Rona said with affection. “I groomed her yesterday.”

Rona shot to insta-fame with her Instagram account @jessronagrooming, an ingenious feed that transforms her stylishly groomed dogs into movie stars, literally.

Dogs of all breeds become the stars of their own music videos, set to a soundtrack of pop and indie rock songs and filmed in slow motion, a fan blowing their freshly fluffed fur just like a model’s hair on a fashion shoot.

The videos are hypnotic, and hilarious, a testament to Rona’s talents as a longtime dog groomer and improv comic.

Although her Instagram account has exploded in popularity, her expertise didn’t happen overnight. She started working at PetSmart in Reseda when she was 18, a dog bather who knew nothing about dogs.

“My boss was like, ‘Can you go put that lead on the Lab and bring it out?’ ” Rona’s reaction: “What’s a lead, and which one’s the Lab?”

She worked on and off as a groomer while in her 20s, then threw herself into the job. “I started to develop my own style,” she said, which she described as “Japanese-influenced pet trims,” a whimsical look “for people who aren’t going to sit and brush their dog every day.”

The Instagram account “became an outlet for my urge to create,” she said, and a way to showcase her meticulous cuts and comic timing.

After she groomed and filmed Marni in April 2015, the dog’s owner reposted the video and Rona’s following ballooned. “I never tried to get followers. I never did hashtags or anything like that,” she said.

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